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View Full Version : EngraveLab PhotoLaser Plus - laser photos



Richard Rumancik
10-18-2007, 9:50 AM
I see that Cadlink has released a photo engraving package for lasers - EngraveLab PhotoLaser Plus. A few people were wondering about alternatives to PhotoGrav (also hoping that the price would be less as well.) But they set the price at $500 US so it is not a cheaper alternative. I could not find a demo for this package but they might have one if you register and enquire.

http://www.cadlink.com/products/engraveLab/el_pkgs_photolaserPlus.php

Bill Cunningham
10-18-2007, 9:07 PM
I remember looking at engravelab.. but, their 'demo' version did absoloutly nothing but let you wiggle your cursor on the screen.. I was at least hoping to see a real function or two, but nope.. nothing.. a waste of time downloading it..

Frank Corker
10-19-2007, 9:08 AM
Just had a look at the site, they don't appear to be interested in you even having a look at it unless you sign up - I don't think so.

Stephen Beckham
10-21-2007, 10:36 PM
This is the one that I heard about at the Indy Show last month... When I was asked what I thought would be a nice thing - I asked for it to have a cheaper plug-in for Corel or Adobe written... Make it a bare-bones converter that would tease us to want the full $500 package...

Should have heard the sinister laughs...

Steve Clarkson
08-25-2008, 11:22 AM
I've searched the Creek archives concerning the Photograv verses EngraveLab PhotoLaser Plus issue, with luke warm results.

Surprising to me.......the Epilog rep that is trying to sell me a laser is really pushing the Engravelab over the Photograv.......more so than any other feature!

So I guess my question is.....is ANYONE using EngraveLab PhotoLaser Plus? If so, how do you like it?

I know MOST people seem to be using Photograv for their photo work and all seem quite pleased with the results. And I also see that alot of people do not like using Engravelab for their lasers (as opposed to CnC, etc.)....but I'm wondering if they are are using a different version because the PhotoLaser Plus is only $500.

Any comments would be greatly appreciated.

Frank Corker
08-25-2008, 4:00 PM
I haven't heard anyone talk about it really since this message was first posted. I'd be interested to see some working examples, preferrably done by someone I trust (another SMCreeker) to see what it's really like. The hype that is put with some of the engraving programs doesn't really tally up. Maybe the rep that you saw get's a bigger bonus if the package is sold with the product.

Steve Clarkson
08-25-2008, 5:47 PM
Maybe the rep that you saw get's a bigger bonus if the package is sold with the product.


That's what I was kind of wondering.....is he pushing it because Engravelab is really better, or does he make more money if he sells it? But the Photograv is $400 and Engravelab is $500.....so how much more could he really be making? And I tend to trust the guy so far.....and other people have spoken highly of him.....so it would surprise me if that was the case........but hey, you never know!

Jeanette Brewer
08-25-2008, 7:02 PM
Steve,

Forgive me if I've overlooked this info somewhere but in what state (or country) are you located?

I can tell you that we played a little with the EngraveLab product but didn't see enough reason to "switch" from PhotoGrav (actually, "we" = the guys, not me, so I have no first-hand info to share).

The reason I ask where you are, is because if your Epilog distributor has switched over from PhotoGrav, I plan to ask him what he saw that we might have missed. As you mentioned, the commission your distributor would receive on a $400 package vs. a $500 package would certainly not be worth the risk to his reputation. I'm fairly sure he has very good reasons & I'd like to quiz him at the distributor meeting next month. Thanks!

Darren Null
08-25-2008, 7:17 PM
I've also had a play with Engravelab and I also wasn't persuaded to switch from Photograv.

the commission your distributor would receive on a $400 package vs. a $500 package would certainly not be worth the risk to his reputation
Depends on the commission rate for each package. You're making the assumption that each software company is paying the same rate.

Jeanette Brewer
08-25-2008, 7:33 PM
Depends on the commission rate for each package. You're making the assumption that each software company is paying the same rate.

I should have done a better job making my point -- I'm not making the assumption that each software company is paying the same rate. They probably are not (I have it in my files somewhere, I'm sure).

I wouldn't care if EngraveLab paid us twice as much as PhotoGrav (and I'm pretty sure whoever Steve's distributor is would feel the same), I wouldn't recommend one over the other unless there was a good reason to do so. I can't see how there'd be more than $50 on the table -- definitely not worth one's reputation.

Then again, I can't imagine what amount would be worth one's reputation. ;)

James Stokes
08-26-2008, 10:04 AM
Jeanette, You have to remember, Your family is rare in the sales arena. You do care about your customers and your reputation. Many, not all but many sales people only care about how much money they make on the sale.

Darren Null
08-26-2008, 12:44 PM
I wouldn't care if EngraveLab paid us twice as much as PhotoGrav
No reflection on your personal integrity was meant by my comment...actually, I didn't notice your "Equipment Distributor" sig until you replied just now. Unfortunate timing of my post. Sorry for any confusion I caused.

The reason I made the comment was twofold:

Firstly, some sales people are interested purely in getting the signature on the bottom line. It doesn't matter that you find out you've been sold down the river in six months' time, because by then they'll be working for someone else, breaking the sales targets there. Also, a $400 program versus a $500 dollar program- it's not much, but it all counts towards the volume of stuff shifted...and if they can temp you to a lens pack and an over-specced air-assist on the way, so much the better.

Secondly, software. All of the money, pretty well, is in development. Once you have the product, reproducing it can be done for peanuts. So the company can be very flexible when it comes to commission. Let's say that the commission on Photograv is 10% ($40) and the commission on Engravelab is 20% ($100). That's an easy choice for even a mildly sharkey sales rep. Even with both at 10%, that's still $10 extra in the bank.
Because the software -once coded- is so cheap to reproduce, a software company can easily go to 80% commission and stilll make considerable money (although in that case, maybe dropping the end price might make it more tempting to end users...but that would have the downside of devaluing the product in the eyes of the consumer). It's not unheard of for software companies to offer massive sales commissions; particularly if they're trying to 'seed' the market for a shiny new version due in 6 months' time. So, yes, if Engravelab are 'seeding' (getting potential customers used to and dependent on their software) it could very well be worth while to the salesman to push one rather than the other.

My own vote it still for Photograv as having superior results; but they're BOTH too expensive and bloaty. I want Photograv's algorhythm in a Corel or Photoshop plugin for $100. A 'do it now' button.

Jeanette Brewer
08-26-2008, 1:16 PM
Darren,

Understood. I knew (or hoped!) that your comment wasn't a question of my integrity but thanks for the clarification.

I know you're right about some salesmen but lucky for me, I don't run into those guys often. In this particular case, though I'm still not sure where Steve is located, I'm pretty sure his salesman has a good reason for recommending EngraveLab over PhotoGrav. I know most of the Epilog distributors very well and they run their business the way we do -- a few extra bucks in the bank wouldn't cause us to recommend one software over another. Just to keep my own foot out of my mouth, I don't mean to say that other distributors don't do the same; I just don't know them as well as I know the Epilog guys.

I can tell you (though I still haven't bothered to find that letter that we rec'd from EngraveLab w/ the demo software) that neither software program discussed here offers anywhere near an 80% commission. If they did, we'd REALLY be tempted to recommend THAT package! :eek:

JUST KIDDING!!!!

We don't recommend either photo software package unless/until we explain that you'd have to process a LOT of photos to justify the expense and we let them know that, if they have the time & energy, they can do the same thing within PhotoPaint (a program which they probably already have) or similar.

Marc Myer
08-26-2008, 1:43 PM
I have to chime in here.
We're fortunate to have not only Jeanette's wonderful family here on the Creek helping us, but many other generous 'sales' people who help us daily.
For us, 'sales' people equal 'service and support' people. This is a rare and valuable thing. Thanks.

Steve Clarkson
08-26-2008, 2:53 PM
Jeanette,

First of all, I live in the Northeast, but I don't think that it would be appropriate at this point to disclose the name of the person I'm dealing with.

Secondly, probably due to the poor wording of my initial post, I think the discussion veered off into the wrong direction. I honestly don't believe that the rep I'm dealing with is trying to push me into Engravelab for his own personal gain. As a matter of fact, he actually advised me not to buy either program initially. Here is an excerpt of what he wrote to me:

"in short, itís $100 more than PhotoGrav but you do have more tools included particularly a nice badge/sign layout tool. Additionally you get a free hour of training from the Cadlink factory. Again, I sell both and PhotoGrav has been out there longer so that is what most people gravitate to but Iíd suggest that the better value is the EngraveLab product. For photo prep, I donít believe either is superior."

So, to bring the discussion back on topic........is there ANYONE who is currently using Engravelab? It sure doesn't seem like it......

Based upon the HUNDREDS of posts that I have read, it seems like EVERYONE is using Photograv.

Some old posts mention how cumbersome Engravelab is and how some tools are like five levels down on the menu. I remember one old post where Rodne Gold (whose opinion I respect) mentioned that Engravelab was worthless (or something along those lines). But I wonder if that was an old version or a different version than what is available today.

But maybe the rep was right when he told me that most people just haven't taken the time to learn how to use the Engravelab program.

And I think Frank hit the nail on the head......I'd like to hear from a Creeker who is currently using Engravelab and then maybe see an example posted so that everyone and anyone can critique it.

"HELLO????? ARE THERE ANY ENGRAVELAB USERS OUT THERE???????"

Jeanette Brewer
08-26-2008, 3:36 PM
I don't think your original post was misleading at all. The info you provided in your last post (re: why he was recommending the EngraveLab package) tells me exactly what I was hoping to learn.

I knew there was probably a very good reason he would recommend one over the other so I wanted to check with him because we hadn't picked up on any significant reasons to recommend it.

I can tell you (Creeker or not) that I do not know of any laser owners in our territory that are using the Engravelab PhotoLaser software. Doesn't mean there aren't some who might have purchased it directly from Cadlink but I don't know of any.

I wonder if an email to Cadlink wouldn't get you a few users' names that could get you a sample file &/or Cadlink themselves would probably be able to provide a file for comparison sake?

James Jaragosky
08-26-2008, 3:36 PM
We don't recommend either photo software package unless/until we explain that you'd have to process a LOT of photos to justify the expense and we let them know that,
I would like to say I use Photograv for my raster renderings and I am very happy with my purchase price vs number of successful photos possessed.
Many people here spend in excess of 15k for there lasers and quite a few twice that amount, so $500. for a program that does what it says it will do is fairly cheap in that context.

"But maybe the rep was right when he told me that most people just haven't taken the time to learn how to use the Engravelab program."
I was successfully using photograv 15 minutes after downloading it.
how much time is required to learn Engravelab?

"If they have the time & energy, they can do the same thing within PhotoPaint (a program which they probably already have) or similar".
and as you point out.
Some here currently do this with amazing results. But this is not as simple as you would expect and results are all over the place. technique varies greatly from photo to photo and then again with the product to be laser ed.
The reality for most is its not worth the time to do it this way, when you can prosses and print with consistance results in minutes, not hours.
IMHO, if Engravelab was worth the time or money we would have heard it here already, not much gets by this group.

As always I look forward to the constructive discourse of ideas shared here.
Jim J.

Mike Null
08-26-2008, 6:32 PM
There are a number of versions of Engravlab. I have a current version of Engravlab Expert. To be honest, I'm struggling with it. I thought it would be very similar to Coreldraw. I was wrong.

I use it to operate my Newing Hall rotary/diamond drag machine. (I could use it to operate the laser as well but probably won't unless I need to access some special fonts or monograms)

I do not have the version with PhotoLaser but the version I have is $1600 wherever you shop.

In fairness, about 90 percent of my work is with the laser so I'm using corel nearly all the time which doesn't permit getting up to speed on Engravlab.

Rodne Gold
08-27-2008, 1:49 AM
Engravelab/profilelab/signlab is a great program as a back end for most of my stuff. What I mean is that it is pretty good in terms of its ability to use Corel designs and to make them work with various machines. We use it for our tekcel overhead routers, our Isel engraving machines , our roland engravers , sometimes for our Roland large format print and cut machines. We use it to generate cutting paths mainly. We run 8 or 9 various machines off it.
We never use it for our lasers , Corel to driver is a FAR better and quicker route and Corel has more or less all you need . The only time we EVER use engravelab for the laser is when we need to do serialization or put in large amounts of names from a database for badges.
At any rate , I feel both photo engraving programs are way overpriced. You can accomplish exactly the same with Corel or photoshop.
I did post a way of doing so , but it wasnt very refined ....perhaps me and some other Corel/photshop users could refine it and make it as a plug in/script and just give it to anyone that wants it for FREE......

Darren Null
08-27-2008, 2:29 AM
The demo was unenlightening, so I got hold of an ...ahem...unofficial version to try out. In the main, I wanted to see how it handled photos, so I didn't spend THAT much time playing with it.

As far as photos go, Photograv leaves it in the dust...the best results I got were a sort of cross between a low-fi Photograv and Photoshop's 'emboss' filter. It was less satisfactory than Etchtone (Photoshop plugin, $100), and India Ink ($15) wasn't that far behind it.

The other features...well I'm sure it's an excellent program for use with a diamond-drag etcher, but for lasering I didn't find anything that I couldn't do in Coreldraw. Didn't look that hard, so it's quite possible there's a killer part that I missed.

For the record, it was deleted the same day.

EDIT: The auto-nesting feature looked quite sexy, but that only comes with the pro pack, not the laser plus pack; which means you'd be buying a shedload of features that you couldn't really use if you just have a laser.
EDIT AGAIN:
perhaps me and some other Corel/photshop users could refine it and make it as a plug in/script and just give it to anyone that wants it for FREE......
That'd be tricky with your method, as there's a bit of sliding around to get the ideal 'unsharp mask' for that particular image. I suppose we could just average it out and make it a 'do it now' type action.

Mike Null
08-27-2008, 6:53 AM
I am in agreement with Rodney's position concerning the price and advantages of these programs. I have little need for them and find that the Corel Suite will do the job.

I have also seen some impressive results with Photograv but it's not for me.

Jay Spencer
09-09-2008, 1:48 PM
Engravelab Laser , Photo Laser , and PhotoGraV are all different products with different feature sets.

Engravelab Laser is for those who want to layout and design files . I mention Engravelab Laser here because it must be understood that the $500 package of Photo Laser is not "Engravelab Laser"

Elab Photo Laser and PhotoGraV are more of an Apples to Apples comparison. We distribute both products PhotoGraV is a great product for doing Photographs with lasers but you still require a layout program to output a file. Elab Photo has direct output ability. I like both packages but like a suit you must make sure you are getting the right fit for your need. That's where a good distributor comes in.

Also many of us picked up a CorelDraw or even Windows and probably had some frustrating moments until we learned how to maneuver in the programs. Those who have gotten more training are able to use the programs closer to it maximum ability. All software is like that so good training is important whether it be Engravelab or PhotoGraV.

I welcome any sawmill creek user to email me jay@jorlink.com (jay@jorlink.com) and I will demo PhotoGraV or Elab Photo Laser or Engravelab laser one one with you and help determine which is the best fit.

***I felt compelled to speak on this topic, helping people with software is what I enjoy doing and I thought my .02 might clear some things up.

Jay Spencer
Jorlink.com
Jorlink USA Inc. Your Laser & Rotary Machine Sales, Support & Solutions
" For Your Engraving Business"

Belinda Williamson
09-10-2008, 8:48 AM
Jay, you have come in from the lurker realm;) - WELCOME! :)

Take Jay up on his offer folks. He's a great guy and he's incredibly helpful. Take it from someone who has worked with him one on one.

Doug Griffith
09-10-2008, 9:53 AM
Engravelab/profilelab/signlab is a great program as a back end for most of my stuff. What I mean is that it is pretty good in terms of its ability to use Corel designs and to make them work with various machines. We use it for our tekcel overhead routers, our Isel engraving machines , our roland engravers , sometimes for our Roland large format print and cut machines. We use it to generate cutting paths mainly. We run 8 or 9 various machines off it.
We never use it for our lasers , Corel to driver is a FAR better and quicker route and Corel has more or less all you need . The only time we EVER use engravelab for the laser is when we need to do serialization or put in large amounts of names from a database for badges.
At any rate , I feel both photo engraving programs are way overpriced. You can accomplish exactly the same with Corel or photoshop.
I did post a way of doing so , but it wasnt very refined ....perhaps me and some other Corel/photshop users could refine it and make it as a plug in/script and just give it to anyone that wants it for FREE......

Just a reminder that I converted Rodne's Photoshop method to a script that automates the process. There are a few refinements and adjustment sliders for grayscale and sharpness. The "Gold Method" available for FREE at: http://www.dogcollarlabor.com/smc

Cheers,
Doug

Brian Robison
09-10-2008, 4:55 PM
Hi Jay,
Glad you finally fell in the Creek!

Andrey Anfimov
11-26-2008, 8:14 AM
Hello!
The difference between these programs is: Photograv there is a simulator of the laser engraver, and EngraveLab PhotoLaser Plus is not good "simulator" of program Photograv.
Photograv is a real a simulator. It gives a picture which parametres depend on type of the laser, size spot (optics) and a material. Also Photograv recommends speed and power with which you should process a material, and also counts up time which you will spend for this work. Photograv has presets which in 99 % yield good result. It is the program for business.
All it is not present in EngraveLab PhotoLaser Plus. The picture does not depend neither on laser type, nor from optics and from a material.

Mark Winlund
11-26-2008, 10:47 AM
The Andromeda plugins for Photoshop work well for me, and are more versatile than Photograv, in my opinion. (And cheaper.)

Mark

Andrey Anfimov
11-26-2008, 1:16 PM
Photograv very good program, but it has one minus. The image which I send on the laser from Photograv, already has a format bitmap and the laser driver once again makes transformation from bitmap in bitmap. This transformation spoils quality of the image. I use Photograv only, as a support. I make processing of the image in Photoshop and then I compare it with the image received from Photograv. When I have identical images I send the image on the laser from Photoshop. Quality of the engraved image from Photoshop is much better, than images from Photograv.

Dominik Zdyb
12-07-2008, 12:22 PM
Hello,

Please inform if it is posssible to create by Photograv other file formats beside bitmap ? Is it possible to save ready picture created by Photograv as independent file to be possible put it e.g. to CorelDraw and then send it to the laser or it is possible send olny pictures diectly from Photograv to the laser ?
Best regards
Dominik